Painful videos reveal life’s brutal truths.
A deaf choir grunting out a Bach cantata.
A naked amputee clutching a nude person with limbs, so that together the pair looks like one complete body.
A young woman dying from decaying bones, interviewed in bed about the pain she is in.
Artur Żmijewski himself uses the word “brutal” to describe his work, and his videos are indeed as hard to watch as any art I’ve seen. They are also profound and important and even humane, in the same way Goya’s brutalities are. Why not help deaf people sing Bach, regardless of the ugly results? Why flinch at pain seen up close?
Artur Żmijewski (b. 1966) is a video artist, sculptor and curator. He collaborates with Fundacja Galeria Foksal and is the Art Editor of journal „Krytyka Polityczna” (Political Critique). He graduated in 1995 from the Sculpture Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, where he studied in Grzegorz Kowalski’s „Kowalnia”, a famous workshop that encouraged several generations of art students to produce transgressive and experimental works. His film “The Repetition” represented Poland during the 51st Venice Biennale. His works have been presented at Documenta 12 in Kassel, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, or KunstWerke in Berlin. He is the winner of the Ordway Prize 2010, awarded by Creative Link and the New Museum in New York for exceptional contributions to visual arts. Author anthology of conversations with Polish artists related to the „critical art” movement caled „Trembling bodies”. He has recently been appointed curator of the 7th Berlin Biennale in 2012.